Insights from the 2024 Montreal Wood Convention

Attending industry conventions is not just a professional obligation but also an exciting opportunity to gain insights, network with peers, and stay abreast of the latest trends shaping the wood industry. Recently, two Murray Bros. representatives had the privilege of attending the 2024 Montreal Wood Convention, an event that proved to be both enlightening and enriching.

Day 1: Industry Seminars, The Need to Be Scrappy, and Trade Show

The convention kicked off with a series of industry seminars, offering deep dives into critical topics impacting the wood sector. The first seminar was headlined by Benjamin Tal, an economist with CIBC. He gave a very engaging presentation focused on the economy, Canadian interest rates, how they are currently being calculated, and how they influence building trends. A second presentation was done by North American lumber market analyst Dustin Jalbert. Finally, Resolute FP forester Pierre Cormier shared some of his experience with the 2023 forest fire season in his home province of Quebec, and the potential impacts to the industry at a provincial and national level. From varying perspectives, all three speakers presentations indicated that there would continue to be some bumps for many industry players in the short term, but an overall positive outlook on markets in the mid to long term. The seminars provided actionable knowledge essential for navigating the dynamic landscape of the lumber industry.

The next event was a luncheon with keynote presentation featuring Michele Romanow, an entrepreneur and investor known for her insights into innovation and disruption. Her talk focused on the need for business owners and managers to always be scrappy when tackling challenges and that innovation tends to not come from a single big idea, but through a series of trials until finally a breakthrough is made (i.e., innovation through many iterations). These two messages resonated deeply, reaffirming the importance of effort and hard work when in the business world.

Later in the day, the two reps explored the bustling trade show, where leading companies showcased their latest products, technologies, and services. Ted was happy to connect face-to-face with several customers, fostering stronger connections and gaining valuable insights into trends and challenges. Liam focused on new relationships with potential suppliers and customers, furthering his network in the industry. From state-of-the-art machinery to sustainable forestry practices, the trade show offered a glimpse into the future of the wood industry. Engaging with exhibitors and exploring innovative solutions left the two feeling inspired and eager to implement some new ideas.

Day 2: The Future of AI, Trade Show, and CEO Panel

The highlight of the second day was the keynote presentation featuring David Usher, a renowned musician and entrepreneur. His insights on artificial intelligence was applied to creativity, collaboration, and leadership and challenged conventional thinking. He offered many fresh perspectives on driving success in a competitive landscape. The presentation was filled with lots of incredible music played by Usher himself to help drive home his points. After the presentation, the boys revisited the trade show, taking the opportunity to explore more exhibits and connect with industry peers.

The final event was a CEO panel, which featured leaders from Interfor, Doman Building Materials, US LBM, and Weston Forest. The discussion covered many of the most pressing topics which had been touched on throughout the convention and in personal conversations. Fibre supply pressures, recruiting new workers into the industry, and integrating more technology into existing processes, including artificial intelligence, were all big themes. The talk provided more insight and strategies for challenges Murray Bros. faces every day.

As the two bid farewell to the 2024 Montreal Wood Convention, they left with a renewed sense of purpose and a treasure trove of insights to apply in their roles. From industry seminars to keynote presentations and engaging discussions, the convention was a testament to the resilience, innovation, and camaraderie that define the wood industry. Armed with newfound knowledge and inspiration, the two are steadfast in helping Murray Bros. achieve a prosperous and sustainable future.